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Hotspot sees 9 per cent activity growth

By Rebecca De Britt and Jennifer Duke
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An area in Victoria hotspotted in Smart Property Investment's Fast 50 report has seen a nine per cent increase in sales, according to new analysis.

The growth, in homes in Mildura sold in the $100,000 - $199,999 price range, was a steady nine per cent increase since October 2011, found PRDnationwide.

PRDnationwide's research analyst Angus McLean said, however, that despite overall increases in activity, the appetite remains in this entry-level sector of the market making the statistics appear unfavourable.

"The current trend toward smaller and more affordable housing has led to a flattening in median price," he said.

"There has also been a contraction in purchasing activity in the $140,000-180,000 market (showing a 19 per cent decrease of total sales) which together has led to an acute correction in the median price back to $137,757."

Mr McLean said the absorption of the Mildura area housing stock should continue into 2013 as buyers indicate increased activity spurred by successive interest rate cuts and the Victorian government's stamp duty discount being increased to 30 per cent.

"These incentives will provide the Mildura area house market a solid base to see another positive shift in sales and median price toward the end of 2013," he said.

The suburb of Mildura sees houses attaining a median price of $225,000 and units attaining $140,000, according to RP Data's latest statistics. While over the past three years, the median house price reported a 10 per cent growth, the median unit price recorded a 10 per cent loss.

Over the quarter, houses grew by 2 per cent and were achieving $250 a week in median advertised rent.

Destiny Financial's Margaret Lomas, who picked the suburb in Smart Property Investment's February 2013 report, noted that it was her low-level 'safe' investment option for the year and pointed to houses as the choice pick in the area.

"Mildura is quite diverse when it comes to industry, including wine industry, aquaculture and renewable energy.  In addition, Bemax Resources and Iluka Resources continue to develop mineral sand mines to the north and south.

"I feel it’s quietly about to make a move, and villa units as well as newly developed houses are equally attractive. Among development plans are: The Mildura Riverfront Development, Olam Almond Processing Plant, Solar Systems Concentrated Solar Project, Mildura Airport Terminal Redevelopment, the Envestra Gas Upgrade and Woolworths Retail Investments."

Affordability was listed as one of the key drivers for the area.

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